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What is the Ranger to you?

Xeviat

Explorer
To the OP:
Conceptually a ranger is a non-holy warrior that protects his range, usually a wilderness expanse but it wouldn't be surprising to conceive of a ranger in a more urban setting protecting particular areas there.

They are sometimes depicted as possessing a supernatural connection to their range and sometimes can even call wildlife there to their aid.

That definitely ties into the name "Ranger" as well. Good distillation. Do you feel like this connection to a place to be protected is the core of the Ranger?
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Thinking it through a little more:

Rangers primary purpose is to be a protector of a range. The connection to the place to be protected may have been what prompted said individual to become a ranger or it may have been developed after years of being in that place. I think the important fact is that it's really the only fundamental feature that differentiates a stereotypical ranger from a stereotypical fighter.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Thinking it through a little more:

Rangers primary purpose is to be a protector of a range. The connection to the place to be protected may have been what prompted said individual to become a ranger or it may have been developed after years of being in that place. I think the important fact is that it's really the only fundamental feature that differentiates a stereotypical ranger from a stereotypical fighter.

Thank you for the thoughts. I think I'm ready to sit down and put my variant ranger together. I'm feeling like favored enemy will be the decision point for the subclasses, and the "range" stuff will be the basis of the core class.

The one thing that is tough is that an adventurer often doesn't stay in one spot. So, I'm thinking of an attunement feature, where the Ranger bonds their self to the area they're in. Probably just a choice on long rests.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Thank you for the thoughts. I think I'm ready to sit down and put my variant ranger together. I'm feeling like favored enemy will be the decision point for the subclasses, and the "range" stuff will be the basis of the core class.

The one thing that is tough is that an adventurer often doesn't stay in one spot. So, I'm thinking of an attunement feature, where the Ranger bonds their self to the area they're in. Probably just a choice on long rests.
For favored enemies maybe think more general about why said ranger would be good. Honestly the hunter rangers level 3 abilities are pretty close to what I'd envision as generalized favored enemy styles.

Also keep in mind, a rangers range may include more than 1 terrain. Some may include all. Therefore:

I'd look to provide benefits more broadly. I'm thinking a list of choices you pick at certain levels that give a benefit based on the terrain chosen for that level (can pick different to represent his abilities in different terrains). Then just give him general benefits to nature/survival/etc type skills. Maybe a little similar to how warlock invocations or barbarian totem stuff works.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
I'd look to provide benefits more broadly. I'm thinking a list of choices you pick at certain levels that give a benefit based on the terrain chosen for that level (can pick different to represent his abilities in different terrains). Then just give him general benefits to nature/survival/etc type skills. Maybe a little similar to how warlock invocations or barbarian totem stuff works.

I've always liked the idea of tying a bonus spell list to the terrain the ranger is in. Paladins get 2 spells known per spell level from their oath. What if rangers got 1 per level from their conclave, and 1 per level from their terrain.

Doing chosen features at certain levels based around different terrain is a possibility. I just feel like being able to adapt to any terrain feels better. Though, maybe it would be odd for the desert ranger to suddenly know different tricks in the tundra.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
I've always liked the idea of tying a bonus spell list to the terrain the ranger is in. Paladins get 2 spells known per spell level from their oath. What if rangers got 1 per level from their conclave, and 1 per level from their terrain.
I love the idea of spells based on chosen terrain. Like land druids!

Doing chosen features at certain levels based around different terrain is a possibility. I just feel like being able to adapt to any terrain feels better. Though, maybe it would be odd for the desert ranger to suddenly know different tricks in the tundra.
I like being able to adapt to different terrains - but I feel that takes something away from the rangers substance. He's not necerssarily the guy that can go out and adapt... even though his outdoors experience means he probably could. He's from a specific place and his time and familiarity to that place has given him abilities that are evocative of that place, but not necessarily abilities he can only use in that place.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
As for a rangery counterpart to Paladin smiting; two ideas:

Infuse Trap. Make a snare or place a bear trap. Spend a slot to make the trap magical. Since trap damage is way less direct or assured than smites, damage should be way higher. I suggest three times as high, meaning 1d20 (instead of 1d8) plus an extra d20 for each higher spell level. Plus 1d20 extra against your favored enemies (mirroring the smite undead bonus).

Idea 2: Infuse Poison. Much like a smite, spend a spell slot for extra damage, in this case 1d12 poison damage. At maybe level 12, gain ability to infuse psychic poison for +1d8 Psychic instead (since far too many high-level foes are immune to poison).

This way, if you care about DPR you can pick the Ranger. If you don't care about DPR, nothing will have changed since you will keep casting the actual Ranger spells.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
As for the Beast, offer (at least) three archetypal critters:

Ursine (bears, boars, etc): can wear heavy armor barding, master's hit points + 2/level.

Lupine (wolves, dogs, etc): can wear medium armor barding, master's hit points, trip or equivalent special ability (master's save DC).

Feline (cats, monkeys, etc): can wear light armor barding, master's hit points - 1/level, master's Stealth and Athletics (if better)

They all have their own actions. At levels 6, 11, 17(?), gain one extra damage die (a bite that's 1d8+2 in the Monster Manual becomes 4d8+2 at high enough level)

Share Life, Magic Fang and Revivify Beast spells added to Ranger's spell list.

Then, to make the Beastmaster relevant and desirable at higher levels, draw inspiration from the 4E spirit shaman, and give auras and other buffs to other party members that choose to fight beside the pet. These should not consume the few spell slots the master has; they should be separate abilities (even if 1/day each). Giving the archetypes (ursine, feline, etc) different powers would be cool, but not essential.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
From a white-room numbers point of view, this makes the Beastmaster appear quite overpowered. But
1) it's two creatures, neither of which can survive if half a creature. Of course the pair appears strong!
2) most players will not want to mistreat and abuse their animal friends. The need to keep their pet alive means the feature will not be as overpowered as cold-hearted numbers indicate.

But it will never be possible to create a Beastmaster with a worthwhile pet unless the pairing is stronger than any single ally. 1+1 doesn't necessarily need to =2, but certainly >1!!!

So add a sidebar explaining that any group (or DM) uncomfortable with two creatures hogging more than a single share of the spotlight should not allow the subclass, and at least make it right for all those that couldn't care less.

Personally, if I were playing in your group, and you wanted an animal companion, I would want the pair of you to be stronger than my character, simply because you're playing two characters, and losing just one is a defeat! Just as long as you're reasonably familiar with the rules (and isn't visibly struggling to play two characters without slowing down the entire group), that would not only be okay, but entirely expected.

The notion you must play a mediocre master and an outright weak companion just so the sum isn't higher than one is MORONIC. That just adds two weak links to the party; and everybody is better off by you just playing something else! If you like challenge and danger in your game, the worst thing is to have to babysit something that can't take care of itself, just making the whole group more vulnerable...
 

Xeviat

Explorer
As for a rangery counterpart to Paladin smiting; two ideas:

Infuse Trap. Make a snare or place a bear trap. Spend a slot to make the trap magical. Since trap damage is way less direct or assured than smites, damage should be way higher. I suggest three times as high, meaning 1d20 (instead of 1d8) plus an extra d20 for each higher spell level. Plus 1d20 extra against your favored enemies (mirroring the smite undead bonus).

Idea 2: Infuse Poison. Much like a smite, spend a spell slot for extra damage, in this case 1d12 poison damage. At maybe level 12, gain ability to infuse psychic poison for +1d8 Psychic instead (since far too many high-level foes are immune to poison).

This way, if you care about DPR you can pick the Ranger. If you don't care about DPR, nothing will have changed since you will keep casting the actual Ranger spells.
I'm still very tempted to remove Hunter's Mark and Hex as spells and make a version of them into Ranger and Warlock features. I like the idea of expending a spell slot to mark a target, gaining some benefits to tracking them and also dealing more damage with attacks against them. I'd rather see something like that for an equivalent to Paladin smiting.

Finding the balance point would be tough, though.
 

bedir than

Registered User
As for a rangery counterpart to Paladin smiting; two ideas:

Infuse Trap. Make a snare or place a bear trap. Spend a slot to make the trap magical. Since trap damage is way less direct or assured than smites, damage should be way higher. I suggest three times as high, meaning 1d20 (instead of 1d8) plus an extra d20 for each higher spell level. Plus 1d20 extra against your favored enemies (mirroring the smite undead bonus).

Idea 2: Infuse Poison. Much like a smite, spend a spell slot for extra damage, in this case 1d12 poison damage. At maybe level 12, gain ability to infuse psychic poison for +1d8 Psychic instead (since far too many high-level foes are immune to poison).

This way, if you care about DPR you can pick the Ranger. If you don't care about DPR, nothing will have changed since you will keep casting the actual Ranger spells.
Couldn't these just be Ranger Spells?
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Couldn't these just be Ranger Spells?
The point of making something a class ability is to make it more readily visible that the ranger is expected to/can use their spell slots to increase their damage. Divine Smite could have been a spell.

I'm thinking about changing Hunter's Mark to be a 1 time damage spell. You mark a target. You gain bonuses on perception and survival checks to notice and track them. The next time you hit them, they take +2d8 damage. Higher level castings last longer and have a higher damage bonus. Hex could be similar, except you get some kind of bonus when the creature dies, or some kind of bonus when the damage goes off (I do like the idea of it reducing someone's max HP by 2d8, and then giving you health when it dies).
 

Xeviat

Explorer
After talking with my partner about it, and with some thoughts in the thread I started on if classes should have automatically proficient skills (rangers get class abilities that use stealth, but you could conceivably build a ranger without stealth proficiency), she asked if the ranger was big enough to be a class.

It's interesting, because I haven't been asked the same question about the Paladin, who is a similarly tight character archetype. I feel like 5E successfully expanded the Paladin, but I'm not sure the Ranger got expanded. It's a narrow archetype. It's an interesting thought.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
After talking with my partner about it, and with some thoughts in the thread I started on if classes should have automatically proficient skills (rangers get class abilities that use stealth, but you could conceivably build a ranger without stealth proficiency), she asked if the ranger was big enough to be a class.

It's interesting, because I haven't been asked the same question about the Paladin, who is a similarly tight character archetype. I feel like 5E successfully expanded the Paladin, but I'm not sure the Ranger got expanded. It's a narrow archetype. It's an interesting thought.
The problem with Paladin isn't that it's a narrow concept it's that the cleric arguably fills the archetype of Holy Warrior better. IMO.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
The problem with Paladin isn't that it's a narrow concept it's that the cleric arguably fills the archetype of Holy Warrior better. IMO.

That's actually why I've always wanted to turn to cleric into an unarmored, non-weapon using Priest. I can at least play more spell focused clerics now, but there is a lot of thematic overlap between a war cleric and a paladin.
 

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